Prairie Settle Sectional #3: Linking Stretchers - Advice Please!!

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Blog entry by James Early posted 08-23-2008 11:25 PM 2264 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Design Revision Part 3 of Prairie Settle Sectional series Part 4: Milling Begins! »

Ok. One of the things I’ve asked myself when designing this project is, “How are stretchers linked together?” In particular, I wondered how to handle intersections of three and four stretchers. I didn’t include this in the initial drawings, because I expected to add the details later. We call this “hand waving” in computer science.

Anyway, the time has come to nail this down, so to speak. I have an idea that I think will work, but I would appreciate hearing advice or alternate suggestions. So, here goes:

Notice this top (x-ray) view of four stretchers meeting at a front leg. Each leg face has a mortise to accept a stretcher tenon. This gives the joint strength, because the load is held by the mortise/tenon—not any linking hardware. Notice also the interior space (covered with a cap in the final construction)


Ok, here’s the idea. We will use two threaded rods running the length of the stretcher with coupling nuts concealed inside the leg to link sections. The process is as follows:

1) Mill a 1/4” groove to the center of the stretcher from the back
2) Mill a 7/8” groove that is 5/16” deep for a filler strip
3) Glue in filler strip
4) Plane filler strip flush with interior stretcher face
5) Form tenons on each end

Here’s the final product:

Stretcher for rods

Notice that the grooves are placed 1” from one end and 1 1/2” from the other. This allows the stretchers to intersect without the coupling nuts colliding. In one direction, the 1” groove is closer to the top, but the 1.5” groove is closer to the top in the perpendicular direction.

Seems like it will work. I have thought about threaded inserts, bed hangers, etc., but I think this will work the best. What do you think?


-- -- Jim E., Oswego, NY. Create, have fun, and work safely!

2 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3839 days

#1 posted 08-24-2008 04:47 AM


Bed bolts come to mind.

The nut is held captive in a holein the rail. You can also use tenons to hold the rail in place along with the bed bolts.


-- Scott - Chico California

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3769 days

#2 posted 08-24-2008 09:54 AM

I can’t really see from the top drawing how you’re going to connect things. Looks as if the slots for the bolts are 45 deg. off from the bolts. Probably my bad, but at any rate I’d still use bed bolts as Scott said or knock down hard ware (KD). And actually I think a more legitimate joinery effort would be sliding dovetails, which could be accomplished with a simple shop made router jig. I also wonder about your statement in the earlier posts about holding up the corbels with magnets. While this would work aesthetically what happens if someone sits on the back or throws an arm over. Isn’t the top supported by the (magnetically supported) corbels and not much else. That’s a lot of load to expect a M/T joint to support in the shear plane. Then again maybe I’m not seeing it as you do and if so, sorry.

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